The spotlight of the high-profile filibuster against the abortion bill shined on Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Fort Worth), but critics say the failure to pass Senate Bill 5 belongs to Republican Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

While Gov. Rick Perry only introduced the legislation to restrict the availability of abortions through this special session, and the House took longer than expected to pass the measure, it was still Dewhurst's job to get the bill across the goal line, experts said.

The lieutenant governor frankly lost control of the process, said University of Texas political scientist Jim Henson.

So what happened?

By 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dewhurst had 90 minutes left before the session's midnight deadline. He was up against the genteel traditions of the Texas Senate, which let the minority party filibuster as long they are physically able.

As a Texas gentleman, he was unwilling to simply shove Wendy Davis or any other senator aside, said SMU political scientist Cal Jillson.

In an effort to kill more time, Democrats continued to raise objections that Davis' filibuster had ended improperly, and against the traditions of the Senate.

As Dewhurst and the Republicans tried to move past objections and bring the abortion bill to a vote, the large and partisan gallery took over and ran out the clock.

Certainly, [Dewhurst] is going to get a big part of the blame given that it was his chamber that descended into chaos and couldn't pass the bill at the 11th hour, Henson said.

Early Wednesday morning, a visibly frustrated Dewhurst was asked by the Austin American-Statesman how he lost control of the process.

I didn't lose control over what we were doing, he replied. We had an unruly mob of hundreds, if not a thousand people that were screaming, yelling, and we couldn't communicate with our members, Dewhurst said.

Now, with Gov. Perry calling a second special session, Dewhurst may get a second chance.


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